Does the healing power of prayer have any scientific basis?

Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine
There have been many studies looking at the power of prayer particularly when it comes to praying for others. Some show that it can improve patients’ outcomes and others show it may not help and in fact may be detrimental particularly if the patients know they are being prayed for.  Unfortunately, something like prayer does not lend itself well to scientific clinical studies. That may explain the conflicting results.  

Individual self-prayer may help some people to find meaning and a sense of well being.  A study of 5000 people over the span of twenty-eight years found that women who went to religious services at least once a week had a lower mortality rate when compared to women of the same age who did not attend religious services.

Prayer is something that is extremely personal and important to many people regardless of whether it has a scientific basis or not and maybe that is all that matters.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.